1976 13¢ Mississippi
State Flags Issue
Issue Date: February 23, 1976
City: Washington, DC
Quantity: 8,720,100 panes of 50
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
Issued as part of the ongoing Bicentennial celebration, the 13¢ State Flags pane was a first in U.S. history. This was the first time a pane with 50 face-different stamps was issued. Each state is represented by its official flag, with the stamps arranged on the sheet in the same order each state was admitted into the Union.
Mississippi State Flag
Early in 1861, Mississippi seceded from the U.S. and declared itself the Sovereign Republic of Mississippi. Mississippi was an independent nation for two months before the Confederate States of America was formed. The new republic adopted the Magnolia Flag, and continued to fly it after joining the Confederacy.
The Mississippi delta was ideal for growing cotton. The fertile land and tropical temperatures made Mississippi the largest cotton producer in the U.S. Cotton was needed by the Confederacy to fund the war, and controlling the Mississippi River was vital for transporting it.
In 1894, the current state flag was approved by the Mississippi State Legislature. Reflecting Mississippi’s Southern heritage, the flag included the Confederate Cross.
Seventy years later, the state was strategically important in another struggle. As civil rights activists poured into the “Deep South,” Mississippi became a proving ground for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The goal was to increase black voter registration in Mississippi. Their effort was a success. Within five years, voter registration for blacks increased tenfold.
The Bicentennial Series
The U.S. Bicentennial was a series of celebrations during the mid-1970s that commemorated the historic events leading to America’s independence from Great Britain. The official events began on April 1, 1975, when the American Freedom Train departed Delaware to begin a 21-month, 25,338-mile tour of the 48 contiguous states. For more than a year, a wave of patriotism swept the nation as elaborate firework displays lit up skies across the U.S., an international fleet of tall-mast sailing ships gathered in New York City and Boston, and Queen Elizabeth made a state visit. The celebration culminated on July 4, 1976, with the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The U.S.P.S. issued 113 commemorative stamps over a six-year period in honor of the U.S. bicentennial, beginning with the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission Emblem stamp (U.S. #1432). As a group, the Bicentennial Series chronicles one of our nation’s most important chapters, and remembers the events and patriots who made the U.S. a world model for liberty.